Monday, February 3

Harvard Book Store Presents (Past Events)Special Events Archive

Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

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$5 tickets on sale January 14 at Harvard.com. Unable to attend? Order the book(s) or pre-order a signed copy from Harvard Book Store. No Brattle Passes.

Harvard Book Store is pleased to welcome the director of the MIT Center for Digital Business, ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON, and ANDREW MCAFEE, one of the principal research scientists at the Center, for a discussion of their book, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies. The authors will be joined in conversation byMeghna Chakrabarti, co-host of WBUR’s Radio Boston.

A revolution is under way.

In recent years, Google’s autonomous cars have logged thousands of miles on American highways and IBM’s Watson trounced the best human Jeopardy! players. Digital technologies—with hardware, software, and networks at their core—will in the near future diagnose diseases more accurately than doctors can, apply enormous data sets to transform retailing, and accomplish many tasks once considered uniquely human.

In The Second Machine Age MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee—two thinkers at the forefront of their field—reveal the forces driving the reinvention of our lives and our economy. As the full impact of digital technologies is felt, we will realize immense bounty in the form of dazzling personal technology, advanced infrastructure, and near-boundless access to the cultural items that enrich our lives.

Amid this bounty will also be wrenching change. Professions of all kinds—from lawyers to truck drivers—will be forever upended. Companies will be forced to transform or die. Recent economic indicators reflect this shift: fewer people are working, and wages are falling even as productivity and profits soar.

Drawing on years of research and up-to-the-minute trends, Brynjolfsson and McAfee identify the best strategies for survival and offer a new path to prosperity. These include revamping education so that it prepares people for the next economy instead of the last one, designing new collaborations that pair brute processing power with human ingenuity, and embracing policies that make sense in a radically transformed landscape.

A fundamentally optimistic book, The Second Machine Age will alter how we think about issues of technological, societal, and economic progress.

Andrew McAfee is a principal research scientist at the MIT Center for Digital Business and the author of Enterprise 2.0.

Erik Brynjolfsson is the director of the MIT Center for Digital Business and one of the most cited scholars in information systems and economics.

Meghna Chakrabarti is the co-host of WBUR’s Radio Boston and is also the primary fill-in host for Here & Now, NPR and WBUR’s national midday news program. Chakrabarti has won awards from both the Associated Press and the Radio Television News Directors Association for her writing, hard news reporting, and use of sound.